Jay-Z wants a B, not a bitch

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      If the tabloid press is to be believed—and it almost always is in these celebrity-obsessed times—hip-hop’s reigning power couple, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, tied the knot on April 4 in a top-secret ceremony at his Tribeca penthouse. Orchids were flown in from Thailand, the pair’s families turned up (along with Gwyneth Paltrow), and B serenaded Hov with some Natasha Bedingfield–inspired messages of affection (“I love you/I love you”). In return, the allegedly teary rapper delivered an emotional rhyme to his bootylicious bride. The following night when she played North Carolina, Mary J. Blige took the stage, offered her congratulations to the newlyweds, and belted out “All I Need”, hip-hop’s closest approximation to a love song.

      What’s remarkable about all of this is not that it happened, but that it happened to the greatest rapper alive. Jay-Z, like almost all hip-hop stars, once positioned himself as playboy extraordinaire. His most successful solo single, 2000’s “Big Pimpin’ ”, epitomized the way rap views relationships. “You know I thug ’em, fuck ’em, love ’em, leave ’em/’Cause I don’t fuckin’ need ’em,” he boasted. In case that wasn’t Cristal clear, he added: “Me give my heart to a woman?/Not for nothin’—never happen/I’ll be forever mackin’/Heart cold as assassins, I got no passion.”

      As it turns out, though, all his inner thug really needed was a hug. In 2002, after the couple had been quietly dating for months, Jay-Z released the uncharacteristically tender “ ’03 Bonnie & Clyde” with Beyoncé. It was followed by the pair’s true coming-out party, Beyoncé’s smouldering “Crazy in Love”, which was so insanely hot it caused The Village Voice to speculate that Jigga had “got Miss Fat Booty wide open”, in turn leading to the suggestion that he had “put a ring on this chick’s finger already”. Any lingering doubts that it was truly, truly love were erased with “99 Problems” off Jay-Z’s 2003 “retirement” disc, The Black Album. That’s where Hova romantically
      proclaimed, “If you having girl problems, I feel bad for you, son/I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain’t one.”

      Rap collectively stood up and took notice. It was one thing to bag the hottest chick in the game, another to have her wearing your chain, but love? Seriously? Could one be both the greatest rapper alive and a sucker for love?

      “[Jay-Z] probably woke up one morning, realized that Beyoncé had not called him back the night before, tried to recall the words to ”˜Big Pimpin’ ’ and drew a blank,” hip-hop journalist kris ex joked on his blog at the time. He added: “However you slice it, Jay sacrificed himself for love. He realized that Jay-Z without objectification of women is like 50 Cent embracing Buddhism or a happy Fiona Apple.”

      Jay-Z knew this, and he went ahead and chose love anyway. He and Beyoncé became inseparable, constantly photographed on corny romantic getaways. Jay stopped talking about women as “ass” and started talking about his woman as “his angel”. Then he went ahead and really threw caution to the wind and got hitched.

      Until now, the hip-hop dream has been defined by the holy trinity of fame, fortune, and groupie love. Jay-Z’s daring marriage implies that random hotel sex isn’t really all that satisfying. At 38, Hov is clearly saying you don’t want a bitch, you want a B. Treating women as objects simply isn’t the fun it’s cracked up to be.

      It will obviously be difficult for any self-respecting female hip-hop head to suppress glee at this revelation. The temptation is to jump up and down in triumph, screaming, “I told you so!” And actually, I encourage you all to do exactly that. Feel free to invite your girls over, get your drink on, throw on “Crazy in Love”, and do the Beyoncé bounce for as long as you damn well please.